Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

No Guarantees


     You’ve probably noticed by now that a lot of my posts have to do with health – thoughts on keeping it, enhancing it, worrying about it, that sort of thing. But please note that those are only thoughts, not warranties.
     Let me explain:
     I recently learned that a friend has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the adult-onset kind. She was surprised. I was surprised. She is lean, exercises regularly and rigorously, watches her diet. She is exactly the person who, statistically, is least likely to get diabetes. She got it anyway.
     That made me think of all the non-smokers who have contracted lung cancer. They did the right thing, avoided tobacco, and got the disease anyway.
     And remember Jim Fixx, the runners’ guru, who convinced thousands that jogging and running would help them avoid such health problems as heart attacks? He died of a heart attack. While running,
     I don’t bring up any of this, of course, to suggest that practicing good health habits is futile. Not in the least. But a great many of us persist in thinking that if we just do all the right things all the time we’ll somehow avoid all health problems. Doing the right thing is the right thing to do, all right. It increases your odds of a good outcome. But it can’t insure that. You have to be philosophically realistic if you want to avoid going bonkers.
     This is life. There is no magic bullet to prolong it. So just enjoy every day that you have to the absolute maximum.
     There are no guarantees.

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